Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Initiated by the architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer, the spectacular Galeries Royales project took shape in the 1830's. The works, begun in 1846, were almost completed in time for the official opening on 20 June 1847. The gallery included shops, auditoriums, cafés, restaurants and apartments. The place to be seen for the fashionable, right away, the Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert drew a wide audience, attracted by its luxury brands, elegant cafés and cultural spaces. These included the Théâtre du Vaudeville, the Cinéma des Galeries and the Taverne du Passage, called the Café des Arts until 1892 and the meeting place for painters and writers of the time. The colony of French refugees, like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Edgar Quinet and others, would also gather there. The Surrealist painters and artists from the Cobra group were regulars at the venue. A commemorative plaque recalls the first showing of the Lumière brothers’ motion picture camera on 1 March 1896, in the former dispatch room of the La Chronique daily newspaper (above Pâtisserie Meert, Galerie du Roi). Nowadays, the Galerie du Roi is home to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts and honours the greatest men and women of art, history, music, the humanities and science.

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